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Old 10 May 2007, 07:52   #11
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I've upgraded my handheld VHF to an i com IC-m72 with an external mike and speaker so that I can keep it in my jacket, still hear the radio chat, and have a fighting chance if it all goes pear shaped and I end up alone in the water.

I'm quite happy with this arrangement, and wouldn't consider being out without it. It is more expensive than other handheld options, but well worth it in the long run.
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Old 10 May 2007, 11:21   #12
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A mobile phone is a great backup
Agreed. Here, the Coast Guard will often request a skipper to contact them via voice phone, especially when reporting something like speed/safety violations and the like.

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Old 11 May 2007, 16:53   #13
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Phones can have a pretty good range across water - I often talk people through computer problems on board various ships and the signal is often excellent - much better than on land!!!

Also in hilly areas there can be dead spots where VHF doesn't reach but as there are so many phone masts around it isn't that often you are out of range.

The ultimate of course is a SAT phone - I would be tempted if I was going offshore as they are no more expensive than an EPIRB.
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Old 12 May 2007, 19:27   #14
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Go VHF

I agree with VHF fpr all the reasons mentioned above. ICOM have recently launched a floatable model which is perfect for smaller ribs.

best of luck
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Old 13 May 2007, 06:22   #15
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Just to add a little twist to this thread. I would like to add a little something. I have been using radios of all sorts for umpteen years. And I have come to the conclusion that VHF radios and moving RIBs don't work together very well. I had been getting exasperated over how bad communications can be using what is supposed to be good kit. At first I thought it was maybe that some radios weren't as good as others and some just weren't set up right. However I started to accept these poor comms after being out on the St Paddy's day bash in the Solent and using my VHF Icom 421 to talk to Nautibouy on his mighty ship. We were both in the Solent outside Portsmouth. I think I was off Gilkicker point and he was at Portsmouth Harbour entrance. Both boats were moving and trying to understand Kathleen, who was on Nauti's boat was very difficult. I suspect Nautibouy has a good radio system professionally fitted so comms should have been good. Richard fitted my system prior to me getting the boat and I suspect that was done proffesionally.
Last week whilst out once again I was having trouble speaking to Matt whilst on the move but once I became stationary reception and clarity was excellent even though there was a bit of land and some buildings in the way. He was in Gosport Marina and I was at the Mary Rose bouy.
Has anyone else noticed how hard it can be to communicate on the move. Is it the radio systems or is it something to do with the wind rushing over the mic and receiving speakers ? Might it be that I need to fix a massive speaker extension to the 421 to make it clearer ?
For me VHF and RIBs have been a little disappointing.

And the best radio reception I get is from the coast guard and so it should be. They should be pumping out loads of watts from a high antenna.

Are we possibly using our radios on low power. Maybe it would be worth checking that.
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Old 13 May 2007, 07:17   #16
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I suspect it's something to do with the direction the speaker is pointing while there's 30+ knots of wind rushing over it?
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Old 13 May 2007, 08:21   #17
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Only solution to that is a helmet and a headset - very valid point though. My radio can be turned up full and I won't hear a thing at full speed.
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Old 13 May 2007, 10:02   #18
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When you're using the mic, try and keep it behind the screen rather than in the wind - it does make a difference. Also, if it's raining or you're taking lots of spray, blow out the mic first to clear any water that may be garbling comms. When you get back, rinse the thing out as well to prevent the salt from drying and also garbling comms (we found this with the safety boats at the yacht club).

My Icom 503 has been (and still is - touch wood) faultless, and I can hear it clearly at any speed since it's right down in front of me.

A personal gripe is the stupid little rib aerials with the coils(!!) - after having worked on ribs with these, and then going back to my own boat with 1.8 metre fibre glass antennae I then realise how much better performance I get with both reception and transmission due to the extra height.
Before anyone says, my aerials are now over 4 years old, and they get subject to pretty extreme movements at the back of the boat since we only ever seem to go out when the swell is over 3metres high

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Old 13 May 2007, 10:21   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nos4r2 View Post
I suspect it's something to do with the direction the speaker is pointing while there's 30+ knots of wind rushing over it?
No doubt the ambient wind/engine noise is a huge factor. Another factor might be the antenna. Last year, I switched from a 3' "whip" style wire antenna to a 5' glass one. The new one is much more rigid. The whip used to... well, "whip"... all over the place which presumable effects the direction of the radio waves radiating from it. In most of the pics I've see on here, it seems the wire antennas are more common.

The additional height of my new antenna might help as well, but I routinely get 20 mile coverage back to my house (which has an antenna on the roof.)

The other item that might be a factor is the amount of other radio traffic. It appears that you guys over there are boating in much busier areas. Over here, I can be on the lake all day in the height of summer and not see 6 boats after I leave the harbour....
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Old 13 May 2007, 15:18   #20
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The other item that might be a factor is the amount of other radio traffic. It appears that you guys over there are boating in much busier areas. Over here, I can be on the lake all day in the height of summer and not see 6 boats after I leave the harbour....

Not all of use boaters live near the Solent.

Wales and Scotland can be pretty remote as well at times!!!
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